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LA County Fair Food Preview and Four Pack of Fair Tickets–Giveaway Ends 09/08!

The LA County Fair officially started today at 3pm with rides, games, shows, concerts,  new animal exhibits and of course, a huge variety of food.  Every year, the food is a huge draw at the fair, and this year will not disappoint as they are more than prepared to appeal to every palette and appetite .  You will see the usual fried fare from longtime fair favorites such as Chicken Charlie, but the fair does have some Gluten-Free options, one of my personal favorites; Terri’s Berries and then there is the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Marketplace. The Fair will run through September 30th.  Fun events and concerts are planned throughout the entire month and are sure to thrill and wow us.  This past Tuesday I was invited out to a food preview, and oh boy, make sure to wear comfortable clothing to the fair so that you can fully enjoy all the food the fair has to offer.  I grew up going to this fair, and by the tastes of food and drink I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in, I am so excited to attend the fair again this year.

There was just a handful of vendors on hand, but nevertheless it was a FANTASTIC sampling of all things fair food, so without further ado, here are the much anticipated  photos of the fair food we got to sample (Which is why you’re here I’m sure is for the fair food photos, not to hear me ramble on and on endlessly… 😉 You can find these food vendors while out and about at the fair this year.

1) Ten Pound Buns

Ten Pound Buns makes wonderful  freshly made sourdough bread topped with all sorts of delicious toppings.  They have a variety of options including BBQ chicken, the ultimate with everything on it,  pepperoni, bacon Nutella, meat lovers, jalapeno and cheese, to just their original with cheese. They have 7 different varieties to choose from. I decided on the BBQ Chicken, it was absolute perfection. The sauce was not too sweet, not too smoky.

The BBQ Chicken

I also had a sample of Jamie’s Bacon Nutella (be sure to check out her blog post about the food preview for more mouth-watering pics. 🙂  I was hesitant to try this, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well the sweet and salty mixed together.

2) Skinny Girl Bar and Food
Next stop was, “Skinny Bar,” as I needed something to wash down that amazing BBQ Chicken creation.  New to the fair this year, these fabulous and delicious cocktails are low-calorie, but still pleasantly flavorful.  These drinks are especially designed for women and come in margaritas, lemonades, and cosmos. My favorite was the margarita. Very refreshing on such a WARM summer’s night!!!

3) Tasti Chips

Tasti Chips with Bacon Cheddar Cheese

For all of you Gluten-Free fans out there, make sure to make a stop at Tasti Chips!! These crispy “Tasti Chips” are made in peanut oil and are completely gluten-free!  My advice to everyone out there is to ADD the Bacon Cheddar cheese to your order (NOTE TO SELF: the cheese isn’t gluten-free!) You can also get them topped with  numerous other toppings if you so desire.

4) Big Kona Huna Shaved Ice

Big Kona Huna Shaved Ice

Hawaiian Shaved Ice has always been a favorite, and this night was no different. The Shaved Ice was a big hit and  everyone loved their personal creations.  What makes it “Hawaiian” you may be asking yourself? Well, they take Sweet and Condensed Milk  and pour a very generous amount of it over your masterpiece of flavors for you.

One of the personal favorites of the evening ammong our group was their “Root Beer” Flavor. Here I tried their Bahama Mama and Pina Colada flavors. Very tropical and just want I wanted on such a WARM warm night!

5) Ice Cream and Funnel Cakes

Always a fair favorite, goodies abound of ice cream creations and funnel cakes that will be here for you to enjoy throughout the fair. You can never go wrong with a dipped cone or funnel cake with powdered sugar or a fruit topping!!

6) Monster Grill

Burgers, corn dogs, and fries, Oh my!! You can get your corn dog on a stick fix here as well as lots and lots of fries. Oh and did I mention you can get fries here?  😉

7) Harold & Belle’s to Geaux

Want to try something a little bit different from your typical fair food?  Love some good old Louisiana Creole food straight from New Orleans? Then you  need to stop by this booth.  They had samples of fried catfish, Crawfish Etouffe and for a  delicious dessert they were also dishing up some wonderful bread pudding. This booth was one of my favorites of the night. The Crawfish Etouffe and the bread pudding were both amazing and I will definitely be back for more of this exquisite yumminess!

Crawfish Etouffe

Bread Pudding

8) Chicken Charlie

A long time fair favorite for many who love deep-fried foods.  With deep-fried cookie dough, deep-fried cereal,  deep-fried kool aid ( I STILL want to try this), deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried avocados and for the more adventurous– deep-fried frog legs can you really go wrong?  They even had deep-fried Dodger Dogs! I truly enjoyed the deep-fried cereal! I WILL be back to try the deep-fried Kool Aide as this was not available to sample that night.

Deep Fried Cookie Dough

Deep Fried Cinnamon Toast Crunch

This year they will also be having a “Pineapple Express” location where they will only be serving their  “Naked Pineapple Bowl.” As I have been trying to eat healthier lately, this was one of my  genuine favorites of the entire night. This delectable bowl comes with rice, pineapple, and eight pieces of shrimp. I love anything with pineapple in it and shrimp, so you can’t go wrong with this one.

Naked Pineapple Bowl

9) Fresh Frys

Fresh Frys is a two-time winner of the O.C. Fair’s Outstanding Fair Food award and serves freshly baked French Fries for your enjoyment. They are also well known for their famous Blooming Onions.  However, one thing I was told upon entering the food preview was that I just HAD to try these marshmallow yammies! Sweet potato fries with fluffy, gooey, marshmallow cream goodness drizzled all over them.  The sweet was just what I needed after having the saltier Tasti Chips. Here is a pic of their marshmallow yammies. YUM or should I say YAM?? 😉

10) Pink’s Hot Dogs

The oh so famous Pink’s Hot Dogs are back at the fair for another year. Home of the world’s best chili dog, among other favorites doused in ketchup, mustard, onions and relish. That evening they were sampling their Matt Kenseth hot dog with jalapenos, onions, guacamole, spicy mustard and ketchup.

11) C’est La Vie/Flavors of France

Last, but certainly not least, for the first time at the LA County Fair is “Flavors of France” from C’est La Vie.  These amazing artisans have some great restaurants right here in our own backyard in SoCal; as they are located in Laguna Beach and are here at the fair to bring Paris to us.  Their booth is all about delectable combinations like strawberries and Nutella swirled together into a freshly made crepe and other tasty french pastries, they have some spectacular talent with the endless creations they came up with. Admittedly, being the sweet tooth that I am, this was the first vendor I stopped at and I just had to have a piece of their cheesecake before having anything else. It did not disappoint, and I am pretty picky about my cheesecake! 😉 Chocolate Mousse, Fruit Tarts, Napoleons, Cheesecakes, and many more dazzling options await you from these fine folks.  You must make it one of your stops at the fair, I know I will.  You will not be disappointed. Shown below is the Chocolate Bomb, Fruit Tart, and Chocolate Mousse. Above are their fruit tarts and Napoleons.

A beautiful sunset at the LA County Fair.

The Fair is here just in time for the long Labor Day weekend, at the Fairplex in Pomona, 1101 W. McKinley Avenue, and runs through Sept. 30. This is the earliest opening date ever for the fair, now going on its 90th year.

NOW, what you have ALL been waiting for!!! ONE lucky reader has a chance to win a 4 Pack of Tickets to the LA County Fair!

Retail Value: Max retail value $68 Dollars

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment letting me know what fair food item has your mouth watering and eager to try!

Optional Entries: Leave an additional comment for each entry you’ve done below.

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No purchase necessary, void where prohibited.  Must be a California Resident and be 18 years of age or older.  Winner will be chosen through the use of random.org and will be notified via email.  Giveaway ends at 9pm PST on 09/08/2012.  All other rules can be found here.

Disclosure: I was invited out to the Media Food Preview Night at the LA County Fair.  All food and drinks were provided to me for free, and I was provided with a 4 pack of tickets and a parking pass to the LA County Fair. All opinions stated above are my own.

Stay tuned for more Fair Fun!! 😉

Got Strawberries?

Oh Strawberries! You are luscious, sweet, soft and juicy. There’s NOTHING that can keep us away from you! Not even an over heated car beeping for us to pull over…

This past Friday evening, Mary & I had the pleasure of attending an event put on by the California Strawberry Commission that was held in Newport Beach at TrueFood Kitchen, a restaurant I have long wanted to check out since I heard rave reviews about this place when it first opened from a friend. Mary and I both agreed, that we cannot WAIT to return to one of their locations (in Santa Monica, Newport, San Diego or in Arizona). There is something for everyone on the menu; whether you’re Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan or carnivore they are sure to have something that will tickle your fancy. BUT before we could enjoy all this strawberry and fresh amazing food fun, we had to get there first!!

Of all the times for a radiator hose to decide to pop off & cause Mary’s car to overheat & throw poor Mary into a huge scare, it HAD to be on our way to the strawberry fun?! Apparently, it did! But, we kept our cool and tried to make light of the situation and hope for the best that we would make it (since we had a scare that the radiator had either blown or the hose was leaking, which meant we would have had to been towed somewhere!) Luckily all it took was some coolant, water and a hose to be put back on and then we were on our way again an hour later! Thank goodness for social media, I was able to notify through my iPhone on Facebook, e-mail and twitter to a few who were attending and in charge of the event our whereabouts and dilemma. Everyone was so welcoming & gracious to us despite our major delay.

As we arrived we were greeted with food & drinks galore, opting for the Strawberry Mojito as it WAS a strawberry event!! It was delicious. I love any fruity drink, so this one was right up my alley. The appetizers were all amazing as well, with many strawberry goodies. Besides strawberries galore, there were several items from the TrueFood starter menu we got to enjoy including the; Shitake & Tofu Lettuce Cups (very light, crisp and refreshing with a zangy sauce that I loved), Thai Spicy Shrimp Dumplings (which we could have eaten all day given the chance), a Kale Salad that was marinated in lemon juice and wasn’t overcooked and soggy nor was it too hard and chewy. It was just right! There was also pizza that was fresh right out of the oven that really hit the spot. My favorite though has to be the steak tacos! Freshly baked tortillas with tender steak and topped with a generous amount of avocado (another favorite of mine!), tomato, cabbage, with spices and sauce. They were breath-taking. I loved every morsel of those things!

While we were munching & mingling, we had the pleasure to listen to a great lecture on the health benefits of strawberries from Illinois-based Nutrition Expert & Author, Mr. David Grotto. He explained the many benefits of a healthy diet in a fun and humorous way as he mentioned the 2 most important staples: Alcohol & Dessert! (In moderation of course). He then went on to explain the true meaning of “WTF?” for us: Where’s The Fiber? With year-round availability, California strawberries are a healthy and versatile fruit to enjoy every day that are PACKED with fiber.

Being a total book nerd I was excited that in our “swag bags” we were all given copies of his book, 101 Optimal Life Foods, which covers many of the ailments we deal with day in & day out; many of which can be reversed by simple changes in your diet and/or lifestyle. Diets that can help us treat each of these troubles as well as recipes to go with them are discussed in great detail. Here is a picture of me with David Grotto, the author of this life-changing book.

Here are some fun facts I learned about Strawberries!!

*A serving of strawberries is equal to about eight whole strawberries.

* A serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange and is packed with beneficial antioxidants and nutrients including potassium, folate and fiber.

*Are naturally low in sugar- one serving has only eight grams

*Strwaberries may help reduce the risk of heart disease, fight some types of cancer and lower blood pressure!

That’s one powerful super fruit if you ask me!! 😉

;

What about DESSERT?? You may be thinking? Of COURSE! What kind of strawberry event would that be without some strawberry desserts? 😉 They had strawberry cupcakes, strawberry rhubarb a la mode (my favorite!), and a choclate pudding with strawberries.

So to put it lightly, Strawberries have it going on! Along with David’s book, we were also treated to a yummy recipe book with beautiful photos of each dish. I never knew that there were so many amazing things you could make with the strawberry, but this book will give you countless ideas that will make your mouth water just looking at the pictures. What are some of your favorite recipes that call for strawberries as one of the main ingredients? I’d love for you to share them here! 🙂

Even my cat MOE approves of strawberries!! He gives them 2 paws up!!! 😉

*Disclosure: I was invited to be a guest at this event hosted by CA Strawberries. All food & drink I had the pleasure of sampling was complimentary, as well as the gift bag provided to me. All opinions are my own & I had a wonderful time!

“Home Sweet Home” at the Orange County Fair

The rides, the food, the exhibits, the animals, the shows! There is something for everyone at the fair and it is one of my favorite summertime hang-out spots to enjoy some good food, good company of friends and family, and some top-notch entertainment or a lazy summer afternoon of wandering around the exhibits, rides, games, or just sitting back and taking it all in.  This is the last week of the fair, so if you have not already had the chance to go, then make sure you head down there by Sunday August 12th!!

Here are some of my favorite things about the OC County Fair:

1. The FOOD!! You cannot go to the fair and NOT have any of the spectacular food options they have. Ranging from the healthy to the not-so healthy, whatever you fancy, I can guarantee you will find something delicious! Fresh Berries. Roasted Corn on the Cob. Deep-fried. Wrapped in Bacon. On-a-stick. Battered. Breaded. Dipped in chocolate. Eating at the Fair is a unique experience. 😉

Two of my favorite things!! Chocolate and STRAWBERRIES!!

I ended up getting a basket of  nice ripe, juicy berries and a chocolate covered strawberry!! YUM!

Bacon Wrapped… everything… I just love this sign.

Fresh Roasted Corn

OMG this was amazing!! Pulled-Pork Waffle Sandwich!! Totally curbed my craving for a funnel cake for dessert! So I ended up getting a chocolate dipped vanilla cone instead. I WILL get my funnel cake fix at the LA County Fair next month! 😉

My Dipped Cone… notice I still managed to get my funnel cake in the picture as well…. 😉

2. The ANIMALS! I’m sure you all know by now that I am a HUGE animal lover. I’m a sucker for a cute critter. The Centennial Farm and Petting Zoos are both great places to make some new four-legged friends.

3. The ENTERTAINMENT! As if the super adorable animals were not enough, since I could easily stay all day just visiting and making friends with them, the fair has endless opportunities for some breath-taking, action packed entertainment. One of my favorites since I was a young child, is the Peking Acrobats. I have to watch them whenever I make it out to the OC Fair!

4. The RIDES! What’s the fair without some exhilarating rides with some of the best views around of Orange County?

Some of the amazing views you will find when you catch a ride on the Sky Ride at night! Just DON’T look down below if you are afraid of heights! 😉

The La Grand Farris Wheel

View from atop the Ferris Wheel

5. FACE PAINTING!! If you didn’t notice already, my friends and I all got our faces painted. Being a kid at heart, the fair is the place to be a kid again and you can get away with doing silly, fun stuff like that. So it is NOT just for kids. Best part was, it was only $5 and we kept hearing comments from others on how cute our Hello Kitty’s were. 🙂

Mary, from Along Comes Mary getting her face painted!

Group Pic!

Close-Up of how my Hello Kitty turned out. I loved it.

6. All of the EXHIBITS & SHOPPING!! I didn’t have time to get pictures of all the Exhibits. I will have to cover that this weekend when I go again. 😉 There are TONS of awesome and unique items at the fair that you won’t find anywhere else. The fair truly is a one of a kind experience that everyone can enjoy.

Have YOU gone to the fair yet? If you’re not in SoCal, have you been to the fair this summer near you? What’s your favorite things about the fair? I’d LOVE to hear all about it! 🙂

Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

If you have not yet been to Disney California Adventure Park, then you should make sure to put that on your list of things to do the next time you are in the Orange County or Los Angeles area. If you are an annual pass holder like myself, then what are you waiting for?? If you are sadly blocked out for the summer, then make sure to go the first day you are able to! It is well worth it. Disney got it right and did a marvelous job designing this land, tailoring it so that there is something for everyone here. It’s NOT just for kids…. 😉

This was my first time to California Adventure since they finished construction on the park and opened up Cars Land, so I still have much left to explore and see myself. This is a list of my “Must-Do’s” and “Must-Sees” thus far while you are in the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. FAST PASS/RIDES– if you get to the park early enough in the day, as soon as you enter the park make sure to get a Fast Pass for the Radiator Springs Racers ride! Otherwise if you get there later in the day like we did around 6:30pm, go eat dinner first. The line will die down a little bit and it will save you at least an hour or so! The line for that ride was 195 minutes when we got there. After we had some dinner and drinks and looked around a little, the line had died down to 120 minutes! Notice the wait time listed on the right tire! LOL 😉 *Radiator Springs Racers is an AWESOME ride, so make sure to hit up that ride! It’s especially awesome when your car wins like ours did! 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. FOOD & DRINKS– Be sure to try some of the amazing food and drinks offered in Cars Land! We ate at Flo’s for dinner and then grabbed some treats at the Cozy Cone for the long line awaiting us at Radiator Springs Racers. I had a vegetarian potato bake with pasta salad. It was very light and refreshing for a warm evening. My friend had some Sangria (they have a few wine choices at Flo’s to choose from), which I had a taste of. It was pretty good! My FAVORITE drink I found though was at the Chili Cone Queso at the Cozy Cone! They have a Vodka Pomegranate Limeade drink, can you say YUM!!!!??? You MUST try it. The Chili Cone Queso was good too, and I am not even a Chili person. So that says a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. LIGHTS AT NIGHT– Be sure to stick around until the sun goes down to see how awesome Cars Land is at night when it lights up! It is sure to awe you, and will give you tons of photo ops for you photographers out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. DJ Dance Party– Perfect for kids, or if you just want to listen to the music, people watch and enjoy a drink outside by Flo’s it’s fun for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. STARBUCKS– You can use your pass holder discount AND your Starbucks card to get your Starbucks fix at California Adventure. The mark up on price isn’t too horrible either. There was about a 32 cent difference between what my Grande Mocha Frap would cost me at the local Starbucks near my house and what it cost at Disney.

6. TREATS– You MUST try some of the delectable treats offered in the shops on Buena Vista Street, the main street when you first walk into California Adventure. Chocolate Covered Brownie Truffle Micky Ears? Don’t mind if I do!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just a tiny glimps of what Dinsey California Adventure has to offer. I hope to add more to this list as I get a chance to explore the place more in depth. Will you be making a trip to Cars Land anytime soon? Or maybe you have gone already? I’d love to hear all about it!

Guest Post from Mary @ Along Comes Mary!! “Happiness is…. Snoopy (on Ice!)

Since I’m away from the “office” right now in Minnesota visiting relatives and such, I had asked two of my good friends to do a guest post for me! So here is the 1st one from Mary at Along Comes Mary, so be sure to click on her link and check out her place for some great posts on Gluten-Free recipes and events going on around Southern California!!  Here she posted about a fun summer event that you can go to in SoCal! ❤
 
Wanna know a secret? I wish I was an ice skater. Ever since I was young, it has secretly fascinated me. I remember being mesmorized by The Winter Olympics & would judge the skaters & their routines….then, in the middle of wanting to be just like all the girls when I grew up…Tonya Harding & Nancy Kerrigan happened….I was crushed something so horrible would happen, especially between 2 gorgeous, accomplished, talented women!!:-( I think thats when I re-thought my dream sport, but in recent years, I have loved watching it again…& have very badily ice skated here & there! 😉
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, you can imagine my excitement when on one of my afternoon jogs around Knotts Berry Farm with my Mom, that they had just unveiled a new ice show for summer, Happiness is…Snoopy! We went into the Charles M. Schultz Theatre thinking it would be…good. With the Peanuts dressed up & dancing…but we got so much more than we bargained for! This is a full production a la “The Ice Capades”; with a huge cast of professional ice skaters, including 1 couple who blew our minds!! It begins with an amazing western round up, then from there we are treated to Charlie Brown & friends at the beach, on a road trip, hitting up the party scene (even with a great cover of Get The party Started…I love that song), On a rainy day, Lucy looking to draw with her crayons (with the skaters in adorable crayon outfits) and…even….just for the girls…Justin Beagle!!!;-) With the cast doing an adorable number to the Biebs’ Baby, Baby.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you will be headed out to Knotts in Buena Park this Summer, this is truly a must-see & makes Knotts even more of a top destination visit. The theatre is HUGE, easily 3,000 seats. We were lucky to get in the 5th row but keep in mind the seats are just like at any other kind of theatre, so little ones might struggle a bit to see unless they’re on a grown ups lap or maybe bring a booster seat of some kind. It runs afew times each day with the exception of 2 days a week (You can call Knotts to find out & confirm). Its also a great chanch to rest in the very cold a/c if its a hot day out there! It would surprise me if anything in the show scared the kiddos, but you never know; some parts the lights go extra down (In the ‘Stormy’ sequence was one part). Its a very up-beat, happy show with something to see no matter where you are looking, & the solo acts the lead dancers get to do were remarkable!:-)

Day 30– Food

The last day of that photo challenge. FOOD! Who doesn’t like food? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken tacos from the skinnylicous menu at  Cheesecake Factory. YUM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon & Carmalized Onion Scramble from one of my favorite diners in Long Beach! Starling Diner. 🙂

 

Day 29-Love–A Day Late, a Dollar Short, Better Late than Never! ;-)

I know I’ve been a bit MIA these past few days, so I missed the last 2 posts for June! It’s been a very busy weekend, and will be pretty busy until I leave next week for “vacation” to see family,  go to a few weddings, the Minnesota version of my grandparents 65th Wedding Anniversary and 90th Birthday celebration. I am DETERMINED though to catch up with all my posts before I leave (this would include posts for days 29 & 30 for the photo challenge, 2 movie reviews, 1 restraunt review, 1 food item review, and the conclusion and results of the #IWillRockThis Challenge that just concluded this past weekend!) Whew! I WILL GET THIS DONE!!!  There are others I’d like to get completed, but those are the ones I feel I HAVE to get finished as they are somewhat time sensitive. So here is Day 29– LOVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Made with Love, in Italy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends ❤ Roadtrips to the river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cowboys at the river 😉